Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘#praisegod’

I am a female, so there is only one person from the Christmas narrative that I can even begin to relate to, that of Mary.

I remember, as a child in Sunday School, when someone would be chosen to dress up as Mary in the Christmas concert. I was on pins and needles, hoping I would be chosen. I mean, other than angels, there were few female roles to play.

That said, she was also the one who gave birth to and raised Jesus, the one who came to redeem the world (including herself) of our sin, born in our humanity.

So …
Mary is also a bit hard to relate to.

Here is the passage where the angel lets Mary in on God’s secret mission for the world, the part she will play and how she responds to this bizarre interaction :

 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:28-38

As indicated by the emboldened phrases, I think that there are three most important parts of this interaction:

The Lord is with you
How will this be?
I am the Lord’s servant

The angel begins sharing what is come with Mary by encouraging her, saying, “the Lord is with you.” There is no more encouraging message for we humans than to know than that we are not alone, that we will not be left alone. Such a message grows our faith, our endurance, our courage. This message is one that we all receive, when we, in faith, give our lives to God and receive the Holy Spirit who sticks closer than any other.

Mary receives all this news, but does not accept it blindly, for she asks an important question of this angelic being who is weaving an impossible tale, “How will this be?” Her wisdom in asking this question cannot go unnoticed. She is acutely aware that there is no physical, no scientific way she, a virgin, could conceive a child. She needs to know how this will all be possible. She also knows that others will want to know (and how this choosing will impact her life).

The angel gives Mary a response to her question. There is no hedging, no hiding of the facts of how this miracle is to occur. Then, as if in a manner to continue reminding Mary that she is not alone, the angel also reveals the miracle of Elizabeth’s pregnancy in her “old age” (lets face it, Elizabeth is probably my age … dried up reproductively maybe, but NOT OLD). So Mary responds, “I am the Lord’s servant.” No more questions. No hesitancy. No delay in accepting this news.

So, here it is, Christmas Eve …

You and I are not Mary. We are not young virgins, in the Middle East over two hundred years ago.

how can we approach Christmas
with the spirit of Mary?

When Christmas plans fall apart … praise God.

When the gift you hoped for did not arrive … praise God.

When the person you hoped to spend Christmas with isn’t there … praise God.

When your life is not where you dreamed it would be … praise God.

When the one you loved is no longer by your side … praise God.

When you are far from home … praise God.

When arguments happen and hurtful things said … praise God.

When the pandemic rules invade your Christmas plans … praise God.

When you are alone on Christmas Day … praise God.

When the power goes out and the turkey is not roasted … praise God (and make a PB and J sandwich).

Read Full Post »

Monday, November 22, 2021

What a morning!

Each glance out the window rewarded my eyes with a spectacular, changing sunrise.

Later, local friends on social media posted their viewpoints of that same glorious start to the day.

What a reward for being the early bird!

Speaking of birds …

Do you know why birds sing just before dawn? Scientists believe it’s to tell their mates that they made it through the night, as a way of saying, “I’m still here.” Maybe that’s why we sing, too, why we create art—as a way of saying, “I made it. I’m still here.”

Jeff Goins

I checked various sources of those knowledgable in the area of birds. The quote may or may not have scientific evidence of the reality of it’s message, but it still makes one ponder.

Maybe it makes one ponder because we read that quote with the Creator and know that his purposes for his creation … to worship Him … resonates.

The quote reminds me of Luke 19:40,

“I tell you,” he (Jesus) replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

All creation has one purpose, one calling, to praise and worship God.

May we awake each morning with the words of Reginald Heber in 1826 (almost 200 years ago),

Holy, holy, holy!
Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning
our song shall rise to Thee

Read Full Post »

When answers are not provided. When confusion swirls around us. When hurts are deep. When the world seems to be going, as my grandmother would say, to hell in a hand basket. When life is hard.

It is then that it is hard to see the evidences of God that are around us.

As I recently got to visit family and place of origin, I was reminded of the ever-present wonder all around me. It was like a reset for my soul. An infusion of wonder created by God. I arrived as the trees were just beginning to change, turning from green to shades of yellows, oranges and reds. Like an orchestra building to a crescendo, the season moved daily toward it’s final great work, splashing the brightest of colors for all to see and appreciate.

And what is it all about, these splashes of autumn color, but to bring us to an inner need to gives thanks, offer due praise to the one whose finger touched earth and gave us such a feast for the eyes.

Such a wonderful sight cannot help but cause one to appreciate the grandeur of God’s creation. It is the inner call to do as we were created, to fulfill our good purpose, to offer praise to our God.

And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations.

Revelation 15:3

Of the verse, above, the Matthew Henry Commentary shares this:

“The more we know of God’s wonderful works, the more we shall praise his greatness as the Lord God Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of all worlds; but his title of Emmanuel, the King of saints, will make him dear to us.”

Even when life is hard (maybe especially when life is hard), may we all take time each day, when prompted by the beauty of nature, the food on our tables, the jobs set before us, the image-bearers who walk among us, the very miracle of life to praise the Lord.

Read Full Post »

For a few days now, my daily walk has not been accompanied by podcasts of messages by a couple of my favorite Christian preachers, but music.

The music is a bit different from much of my playlist, for the songs are long (like 7-8 minutes long, each one), with much repetition of lines in the songs. When I slip in my headphones and tie up my runners I am transported to the most beautiful sanctuary of worship within the beauty of the natural creation.

This daily, solo, worship service has facilitated my expressions of trust, love and hope in God alone. It has enabled me to escape the the me centered world I live, and live in. I can spend my walk time focused on the One who is really in control, the One who is always faithful, always with me.

And He alone deserves praise.

One of the worship songs that I have been using as a vehicle for my walking worship is the Doxology (praise God from whom all blessings flow).

It was written in 1674, by Thomas Ken, who had a fascinating life with positions in church leadership that had him mixing with the likes of Princess Mary (later Queen), King Charles 2 (and his mistress) as well as King James 2, whose Declaration of Indulgence, Thomas refused to read in church … and spent some time in the Tower of London.

His doxology was not printed publicly until after his death.

And today, over 300 years later, his penned praise to God is still sung, in cathedrals, churches, and along the paths and sidewalks of the Pacific Northwest.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen.

Read Full Post »

Dear God,

Thank-you for breath today.

No matter what the day brings, if we have breath in our lungs, it is a reminder that you have purpose for us in this very day. Let us be mindful of each breath … inhale, long and slow then exhale the same … feel that breath move in and our of lungs … whisper, to remind oneself,

i

am

alive

No matter how yesterday ended … exhaustion, joy, mind-swirling, excited, sorrow-filled, joyful, meh … today is truly a brand new day. Though today is linked to yesterday, you give us the daily gift of new. The left-overs of yesterday’s blunders can be tempered by the freshness of a new day … with no mistakes in it yet (Anne of Green Gables). Today is the gift of a blank slate, a fresh start, an opportunity to change course.

God, remind us of your presence today.

We get so distracted by everything around us. Though we know that all that we have is from you, we forget you in our days. We think about what to eat, where to go … hum, I am reminded of the words of Matthew (6:25)

“… do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”

His words say it. God, remind us as we walk through this day that our life is about more than just surviving. Remind us to give our needs to you. To look to you for our needs … for all of our needs.

Lord, we know that our days of life and breath are numbered, that no one escapes our mortality. May we truly live each day, blessed by your breath in our lungs, your Spirit in our souls. May we not come to the end of our day (our days) without praising you.

Amen

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.” 

Psalm 39:4-5

Read Full Post »

from the book,
“the boy the mole the fox and the horse
by Charlie Mackesy

Breaking announcements have become common as the red flashes across our screens, as the attention-seeking noise blares from the radio. Closures, limitations, warnings and preparations are rocking our entire world.

“His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed”
– Daniel 7:14

And I sit here, in the early morning hours, when silence is the only volume, and I turn to the window and watch the horizon lighten, ever so slowly. The sun is indifferent to viruses, to pandemics, to troubles … it just does what it was created to do … it rises, every day.

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”
– Psalm 113:3

And what were we created to do?

praise the name of the Lord …

  • in our prayers
  • in our care for our neighbors
  • in our willingness to self isolate
  • in our reading his word
  • in our flexibility and understanding
  • in our support of the helpers
  • in supporting organizations and businesses that will be impacted
  • in our lifting up of praises in song
  • in our prayers

Lord,
May we be found doing what we were created for … praising you, from the rising to the setting of the sun. May you do what you promised, for us, granting us your peace, no matter the situation we are walking through.
Amen

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
– Hebrews 13:8

Read Full Post »

Ruins

 

Have you ever felt like the image above? Have you ever felt like a part of your life mirrored that image?

old?

trashed?

abandoned?

falling apart?

ruined?

I think we all have at different points in our lives, when the demons who haunt us, and the realities of life in this very human world, affect our daily lives, relationships and bodies.

The Psalmist also had such experiences and feelings:

I say to God my Rock,
“why have you forgotten me?
why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by my enemy?”
Psalm 42:9

… A Psalm of David,
my God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?

Psalm 22:1

Even Jesus, the Son of God, cried out from the cross,

Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:46

When our life, in part or whole, seems to be in ruins, we do not sit in the mire alone. Matthew 28:20 reminds us that “I (Christ) am with you always, to the end of the world.”

What comfort to know that we are not alone in our desperate times, in our darkest moments.

“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

He is always there to lean on, to count on, but he wants to be more than just a shoulder to cry on. He wants us to tell him where it hurts.

“cast all your cares/anxieties on him
because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

A few years ago, Amy Grant had a song released called “Better than a Hallelujah” and one of the lines in it describe our need to cast those cares honestly, sincerely, maybe even with tears in our eyes and fist shaking to the skies:

the honest cries of breaking hearts, are better than a hallelujah.”

Even Job, sitting on a dung heap, scraping the sores all over his body with broken pottery, did not sin with his lips, but did question why God had allowed him to be born. He was (literally) in the dumps, but when faced with God, he confessed his sins, and God put a new dream in Job’s heart.

We need not stay in ruins.

God is always with us, and he does not leave us in our mire forever.

Maybe, today, you cannot see even a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe your heart is broken into so many pieces that you could never imagine it being put back together. Maybe the energy to have hope is just too much for you. Maybe your hope is only in the foreverland of life after death.

If you have breath, you have purpose, you can dream, you can pursue the purpose that God has placed in your heart. “Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1)

God has a plan for your life, and if you still have breath, you can still pursue whatever he holds for you in your future.

If you have breath, praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6). If praising God is all that you can do, do it!

God is with you always, praise him with your every breath.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Kickin' It In Granny Gear

Life, blessings, opinions, thoughts, photos, wildlife, nature, retirement, pets

Lessons from a Lab

From My Daily Walk with the Lord and My Labrador

From The Darkness Into The Light

love, christ, God, devotionals ,bible studies ,blog, blogging, salvation family,vacations places pictures marriage, , daily devotional, christian fellowship Holy Spirit Evangelists

Pearl St. Gallery

Capturing Images Of Nature

Roadtirement

"Traveling and Retired"

Karla Sullivan

Progressive old soul wordsmith

Becoming the Oil and the Wine

Becoming the oil and wine in today's society

I love the Psalms

Connecting daily with God through the Psalms

Memoir of Me

Out of the abundance of my heart ,I write❤️

My Pastoral Ponderings

Pondering my way through God's beloved world

itsawonderfilledlife

looking for wonder in everyday life

What Are You Thinking?

I won't promise that they are deep thoughts, but they are mine. And they tend to be about theology.

Sealed in Christ

Sixth Seal Ministries

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith